BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Tales from the Café [Before the Coffee Gets Cold, Book 2] by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, translated by Geoffrey Trousselot [in Booklist]

Expanding the insightful delights introduced in global bestseller Before the Coffee Gets Cold (2020), readers are welcomed back to Funiculi Funicula, Tokyo’s time-travel café. The rules haven’t changed, especially the two most urgent: the temporal seeker must wait for the woman-in-white to vacate her seat (yes, even ghosts seek relief!), and, once the fresh coffee is poured, it must be drunk before it gets cold. Although time can be briefly defied, the present cannot be changed.

Repeating the intertwined four-part format in this second volume, four guests are transported backward or forward to meet someone beloved: a bride’s father seeks his best friend, a potter his late mother, a dying man his fiancée, a policeman his beloved wife. And in between visits, the woman-in-white gets her poignant backstory, while singular coffee-pourer Kazu gets her own provenance revealed.

Lauded playwright Toshikazu Kawaguchi originally created this for the stage, then turned new novelist to adapt his award-winning play for the page. His prose – English-enabled again by Geoffrey Trousselot – might not be the most elegantly polished, but the book’s resonating charm provides lasting emotional balm.

Read now, watch later: the Before the Coffee Gets Cold series is getting the Hollywood treatment from the teams behind Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, among other hits.

Review: “Fiction,” Booklist Online, November 16, 2021

Readers: Adult

Published: 2017 (Japan), 2021 (United States)


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